Using and Maintaining HVAC Systems in Rental Properties

3 Reasons Your AC Drainage Line Keeps Clogging

Air conditioners require drainage systems to remove excess water from their evaporator coils. Water will condense from the now cooler air as your air conditioner runs. This effect reduces humidity in your home but also generates a surprising amount of water. Window units and portable air conditioners typically use this water for extra cooling, while central air conditioners drain it to your home's plumbing.

Unfortunately, clogs in this drainage system are surprisingly common and can stop your air conditioner from functioning. In a worst-case scenario, water can overflow and damage other components in your system. A rare clog may not indicate a larger problem, but repeated clogs may be due to one of these three common issues.

1. Poor Drain Maintenance

The simplest reason for repeated clogs is poor maintenance. The typical path condensed water takes is not closed or protected. Water condenses directly onto the evaporator coils, which may be dusty or dirty. The drain pan below the coils can also contain many contaminants. The water can carry this debris as it travels to the drainage lines.

Regularly cleaning your drain line is the best way to prevent these problems. Keeping the drain clean will stop dirt and dust from accumulating in the drainage tubes, minimizing the likelihood of future clogs. A routine annual maintenance visit usually includes this service, but it's also an easy task you can handle yourself.

2. Airflow Problems

Surprisingly, airflow problems can potentially lead to chronically clogged drain lines. Your system's air filter can improve the air quality in your home, but its primary job is to keep your evaporator coil clean. A clean evaporator coil will work more efficiently while being less likely to result in clogged drainage lines.

However, an old, dirty, or clogged filter will restrict airflow across the evaporator coil. This situation can cause the blower motor to work much harder, potentially pulling air in through unfiltered gaps in the air handler cabinet. As a result, the evaporator coil will pick up more dirt, leading to more frequent clogs. Changing your air filter on time can help you avoid this scenario.

3. Inadequate Drain Design

Your air conditioner's drainage is a crucial part of the system that requires enough capacity to handle a typical dehumidification load. The drain might work well under normal circumstances but struggle when your air conditioner runs constantly on hot and humid days. Unsurprisingly, undersized drain lines are more likely to clog and create a mess.

Fortunately, you don't need to replace your entire air conditioning system to fix a poorly designed drain system. An HVAC contractor can determine if your drainage system is undersized, outdated, or otherwise insufficient for your needs and make the appropriate changes to prevent your system from overflowing on damp and muggy days.

Contact a local company to learn more about air conditioning.